President Claudio Lotito looked back on 15 years of rebuilding and warns Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will “leave only if there is an advantage for Lazio.”
The patron celebrated 15 years of his Presidency this week and spoke to Lazio Style Channel about his plans for the future.
“I think the club has made real efforts to form a competitive squad for next year. It’s going to be an important season and I hope the players realise their own strength both on the national and international stage.
“The fact that we are second only to Juventus in Italy for the number of trophies won in recent years shows we have created a sense of stability. The difference now is that Lazio fans feel secure going into the future and our growth from here on cannot help but be exponential.
“We’re very proud to have taken over 15 years ago with Lazio on the verge of bankruptcy with over €500m in debt and over time proving the skeptics wrong, as we built the foundations on concrete and not sand. Look at how many clubs are now struggling or have been wiped out. We set the example for many in Italy.”
Lotito insists that is also reflected on the transfer market, where he can resist offers of over €100m for Milinkovic-Savic.
“They used to come and steal our players, we were a land to be conquered, but that is no longer the case. Players leave only if there is an advantage for Lazio and we set the rules. We are now in a strong position and gained credibility on the international stage.
“If someone does want to leave, we’ll see if it is possible. We understand that some might want to cultivate legitimate personal ambitions and the club would have fewer weapons in the armoury to retain players like Milinkovic-Savic compared to last year, but that doesn’t mean he’s leaving.
“You can have aspirations, we can make players happy, but it must always be with respect for the club and fans. As things stand today, there are not the right conditions for his departure.
“It’s possible he will want to move to a more important club in future to help his professional growth, but that is why we must become one of the best clubs in the world, to avoid situations like this being repeated in future.”
Lotito agrees with rivals Roma that a new purpose-built stadium is the key to financial stability in football.
“The dream is to build a stadium. We started the process first, but were then stalled by the institutions of the time, which damaged Lazio fans. We would’ve created a mooring for boats, a train station and its own motorway slip road.
“We hope time will prove us right and that in future we can make that step up.”